The Pebble Watch: One Year Later…

Last September, I wrote about the (then) new Pebble Smart Watch. My initial impression was favorable; while the number and diversity of apps was lacking, the function and feel was terrific. In the year since, I’ve used the original Pebble (more about subsequent Pebble in a minute) almost exclusively. That includes at work, on trips, and even while exercising. App development finally caught up to the platform. A variety of everyday handy apps makes my Pebble a great watch. Not only are the notifications useful (new emails, texts, and phone calls), but I can control Pandora, set Alarms, get weather data, and use my timer to count up or to count down. All notifications are via the rather aggressive shaker, so no loud noises or embarrassing beeps. Since I first purchased my Pebble, the platform has matured.

Apps – The number of apps increased dramatically over the past year. After the interruption caused by an Operating System upgrade (to version 2.0), the flow of new and updated apps continued. Many (perhaps most) are watch faces – this gets annoying as I want more apps that do or tell me something. The introduction of ESPN does that with sports scores added to your watch.

Battery – I was really concerned about battery life. The unique recharging cable is not my favorite, a point I made in my original blog about the Pebble Watch last September. In the past year, however, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The battery lasts 5-7 days with normal use. If you use the stopwatch and/or countdown timer much, the battery takes a bit of a beating. Recharging is very quick. I ordered an additional recharging cable, something I’m glad I did.

Reliability – New products both excite and scare me – how will it hold up? I worried the Pebble might develop issues over time, but nothing like that happened. The watch works just as well as the day I purchased it. With new apps, better integration with my Android phone, and better support from the Pebble web site, the Pebble still rocks (sorry about the pun!)

The new Pebble – Pebble came out with the Steel, basically the same watch with metal instead of plastic. This was Pebble’s attempt to bring the watch into the main stream, but the days of elegant watches are long past. You will see almost any color or style of watch on the wrists of well-dressed people these days. So, perhaps it was also an attempt to deliver the same product with a higher profit margin. As a fan of the free market system, I don’t have a problem with that. I’m just very happy with my plastic Pebble.

So, one year later I’m still a Pebble fan. I’ve looked at all the new “Smart” watches to come out over the past year, and nothing surpasses the capability enough to warrant the higher prices. Perhaps one day they will, but in the meantime I’m hoping the inventive folks at Pebble will up their game and release a new version with more oomph!

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